Potluck in the Park
Local volunteers feed hundreds weekly
Greendale, WI (February 22, 2008) – A joyful frenzy of food and friends—that's what you'll see if you stop by O'Bryant Square in downtown Portland each Sunday. Rain or shine, volunteers gather for "Potluck in the Park." Several volunteer organizations in the area sponsor the potluck.
One group from Christ Episcopal Church of Lake Oswego, Oregon has been providing casseroles and beverages for 13 years. The Christ Episcopal group is featured in the February/March 2008 issue of Taste of Home magazine in its "Cooks Who Care" story.
"Potluck in the Park" is a community-wide program that has been serving hot meals to anyone in need since 1991. Every Sunday, volunteers gather and serve an average of 250 to 500 people. The potluck goes on no matter the weather, and people in need of a good meal are fed.
Weekly, the group from Christ Episcopal, coordinated by Alison and Larry Gilmore, gathers to create 10-12 huge casseroles. In order to make such large amounts of food, the group has found donations to be a key ingredient. They've teamed up with the Western Culinary Institute and the Oregon Culinary Institute to gather the "leftovers" from cooking classes. They create dishes using meats, potatoes and rice from the institutes, and purchase extras to pull the meal together.
"Our casseroles feed the homeless, veterans in wheelchairs, single parents and college students," says Alison. She adds, "One man lost his job and came for a hot meal in the park. Eventually, he got his job back, and he started serving with us. Once people start helping, they don't stop."
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Taste of Home is a bimonthly magazine with a circulation of 3.1 million and is now part of Food & Entertaining at the Reader's Digest Association (RDA), which includes allrecipes.com and Every Day with Rachael Ray. Taste of Home also publishes Healthy Cooking, Simple & Delicious, Cooking for 2, top-selling bookazines, newsstand specials, and popular cookbooks.
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